One of the most exciting aspects of life coaching is giving yourself permission to take a journey of self-awareness so that you may discover who you are and your true purpose on Earth. By no means is this an easy journey but if we want to make a positive and constructive change in our lives, it often means doing the messy work of going inwards and discovering the beliefs, values and rules that we carry and which have determined where we are now. It all comes down to taking responsibility for ourselves. It means dropping the “blame” and “justifying” game. It means accepting your shadow self – be it shame, guilt, anger, remorse, self-disgust – and embracing it with love. It also means that you have the right to change, as long as it feels good for you, it is good for others and it serves a greater good for all.
I have been on this journey. I am still on this journey. I certainly believe that it’s a never-ending, heart-wrenching and at times, frightening, journey but it’s one that I cannot and do not want to undo. With the pain of transformation there has also been so many beautiful, wonderful things that have happened. It is both the pain and pleasure that keeps me on this path. The pain reminds me why I don’t want to go backwards, the pleasure encourages me to always move forward.
One of the hardest things about this journey of personal growth is the loss of family and friends who are not able to or who are not willing to accept the change in your SELF. They are bewildered, confused and sometimes angry. But, it’s important to understand why they behave like this and often it’s because you no longer fit the person they want you to be - in my case, being submissive, not having a voice, allowing others to abuse me, giving away my own personal power so that they can fulfil some deep need of their own.
I don’t deny my own bewilderment as people in my past slowly start to drop away, preferring not to accept my journey and at times, attacking me for going all “new age”. I have had people, who I thought loved and knew me well, question my motives for “re-inventing myself”. Others question my quest for spiritual growth, my passion for life coaching. I guess these reactions of others are part of my journey and they are always cause for reflection. The best part, though, is finally recognising my own personal power, through self-awareness, gaining wisdom, clarity and understanding of other people’s pain through understanding my own pain.
One of the hardest lessons I have had to go through was acknowledging my shadow. Your shadow is the deepest part of you that you prefer to keep behind you, ignoring it at all costs. Your shadow is made up of all your negative emotions. Negative emotions come from thoughts and ultimately beliefs that we grow up with, that we construct through our own life experiences and even from things that happen globally. When I took on this journey of self-awareness, I was forced to face all my beliefs, the positive which were few and the limiting of which there were plenty! Slowly, but surely, I tackled the limiting beliefs while, all the time, working on embracing my empowering beliefs.
I share this story firstly to let everyone out there know that, yes, we are allowed to change and yes, we can make changes for the better. Secondly, on a regular basis, I hear my clients’ own bewilderments (and sometimes relief!) as they experience the loss of people who they once thought were their best friend or someone they loved in the family. With gentle encouragement, I hope they can see that those who choose not to support them on their journey of change are the ones that do not serve them in a positive way. People come, people go but, in the end, those who stick with you through the ups and downs of LIFE, without any doubt about who YOU are, are the ones that matter.
I read a lovely article today about finding your tribe – and yes, you will find your tribe, those like-minded people who understand the journey you are on (they are on it too), who love you no matter what you have done because they know who you really are (and they know that everyone, including themselves, have their own shadows to deal with) and who are just as “imperfect” as you are ” (each and every one of us are unique and special in our own “perfect” way) . We don’t have to prove anything with our tribe. They get us – just the same way as we get them.
And, in the beginning, when those people started falling off my list of friends and family, I thought it was a heavy price to pay for choosing to be TRUE to my SELF until one day I realised that the tribe I now have, supporting and loving me every inch of the way, far outweigh any perceived cost there may have been.